10 Questions with ... Kelvin "The Greek" Culbreth
December 1, 2015
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- 1989 - 1994 ... WRCQ/Fayetteville, NC
- 1994 ... Classic Rock 100.3, The Fox/Greensboro, NC
- 1995 ... WRXR (96RXR)/Augusta, GA
- 1996 ... WRDU/Raleigh, NC
- 1999-2000 ... WBRW (Classic Rock 105.3 The Bear)/ Blacksburg, VA
- 2000-2002 ... WKRB (Classic Rock B107)/Fayetteville, NC
- 2011-Present ... WRCQ/Fayetteville, NC
1) What was your first job in radio and early influences?
First job was at WRCQ when I was finishing up college after a stint in the Army. Loved Larry "Records" Cannon and Cowboy John Lisle, local guys in Fayetteville when I was young. Jim Ladd was the guy I always wanted to be like.
2) Was there a defining moment, which made you realize "this is it" for radio?
I can't remember ever wanting to do anything else. I wanted to do radio ever since I was old enough to think about things like that.
3) I understand you were part of the crew that put WRCQ (Rock 103) on the air in October 1989. You eventually left the station and just returned a few years back. How has the station evolved over the years to its present Active Rock state?
Rock 103 was the first-ever rock FM in Fayetteville. The first few years, the format shifted a few times while the owners tried to decide what exactly would work. Try New Rock, more Classic, add in some Alternative, back to Classic. But since Cumulus bought the station in 1999, it's been a steady straight-ahead rocker. There has never been any serious direct competition in the market, so our bread and butter has really been walking both sides of the street. We truly play the best classic stuff and the best new stuff.
4) You have the dual role as OM/PD and afternoon host ... how do you balance your time so both roles are effective?
That has been the challenge for the 18 months I've had both roles. I don't want our other PDs - or anyone in the building for that matter - to think I'm not focused on their issues. But I do find myself putting my station on the back burner at times. That's when I slap myself on the wrist. The day I was announced as OM, six people followed me to my office to tell me their problems. It was immediate to me that now everyone's problems are my problems. But that's where having great teammates is crucial.
5) Now that the station has morphed into an Active Rock station playing currents, approximately how important by percentage is gut, research, sales, video play and chart position when determining the status of a record?
The fact is, we've been doing this for over a year now. It's hard to break it down like that. I guess all are kind of equal. It's a little paradoxical because you don't want to rely too much on your gut, but then if it doesn't feel right, it doesn't have a place.
6) You said that this station has actually been playing Active Rock for almost 18 months. With this relatively new perspective, what's your take on current Active Rock music and the format as a whole?
We all know that our business is cyclical, and I do think the format is in another fertile period. My first time as a PD was the early '90s when Nirvana and Pearl Jam and Soundgarden were re-defining the genre and the format. I don't think we're in one of those "course-changing" periods, but I hear a lot of rock music out there that is fresh and catchy. I like the idea of making room for artists who incorporate different elements that aren't traditionally rock, like rap or country instruments, but still rock. That kind of creativity is what keeps Rock the coolest in the room. And sitting these bands beside Led Zeppelin just makes the Zeppelin new again.
7) What are your three favorite Rock artists or songs of this past year and why?
- I like Bring Me The Horizon because they bring the Rock. No frills, straight-up Rock.
- 21 Pilots is one that I have really gotten hooked on recently. They are a good example of a band that doesn't play by the rules, but they Rock.
- And I think Shinedown has really placed itself back at the top of the Rock pile with Threat To Survival.
8) I understand that there's not too much Rock competition in the Fayetteville market. How do you decide how new or classic as well as how hard or mainstream to program the station?
There is none. There isn't even a contemporary Rock station in Raleigh, 45 minutes away. We have strong listenership there. But there is a straight Classic Rocker there that gets into Fayetteville. So we strive to serve all portions of the demo. Obviously, any current song is a chance taken. Our unspoken promise to listeners is two-pronged: we'll never venture into the unfamiliar for long, and when we do it will be worth the trip. If you don't know this song, you will know the next one. Current, '70s, 2K, '80s, Recurrent, '90s, Current, '80s. Back and forth. It works for us.
9) How much does Rock 103 use social media like Facebook and Twitter to help enhance the Rock experience with its listeners?
We try to be all over it. I'm fortunate to have some staff members who are really into social media. In fact, they're all administrators. We all post - them more than me - lifestyle stuff, and anything Rock. Lots of Dave Grohl.
10) Finally, your on-air name is "The Greek." How long have you been using that name and how did it originate?
I am not Greek. But when I was doing sports as a morning show #2 early in my career, my partner started calling me Greek. He was a fan of Jimmy The Greek, the old sports handicapper who was a regular on CBS' NFL Today back in the '70s. It stuck.
You're stuck on a deserted island and you only have five CDs with you. What are they?
- Stones - Exile On Main Street
- Beatles - The White Album
- Nirvana - Nevermind
- Stevie Wonder - Songs In The Key Of Life
- Eddie Money - No Control (Been a huge fan since I was a kid)